The eponymous owner of Sal's Pizza is nearly always on hand to greet customers and oversee the creation of his Italian-inspired dishes. Under his watchful gaze, cooks sprinkle toppings on bubbling thin-crust and Chicago-style pizzas or sauté veal and chicken in wine sauce. And if diners are lucky, they can behold one of Sal's ovens giving birth to hearty baked pasta, a thick Italian-style sub, or a tiny baby oven that tries to bake everything it sees.:m]]
Michael's Italian Restaurant's kitchen cupboards are bare. Their sparseness doesn't stem from a food shortage, but from the eatery's devotion to fresh ingredients. To wit: chefs deftly knead fresh batches of homemade pizza dough daily, and they coat the disks with ladles of from-scratch pizza sauce. They simmer organic beef with fresh-squeezed lemon juice, and they fly in fresh fish from Chicago each morning before enhancing the fillets with white wine lemon sauce. In addition to traditional dishes, they've added contemporary flourishes to the menu such as gluten-free pizzas and pastas and meatballs equipped with 4G technology. Regardless of which entree guests select from the expansive menu, knowledgeable servers are always on hand to suggest pairings from the eatery's vast wine list.
Portabella Bakery & Cafe's red-brick oven dispenses flame-kissed pizzas while chefs stack meats on sandwiches and wrap sugary dough around traditional Italian pastries. With more than a decade of experience in the Italian restaurant business, the Matera family prances down the kitchen’s aisles, piling gourmet toppings such as feta cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, and artichoke hearts onto personal pizzas and focaccia paninis.
Sourdough bowls brim with an ever-shifting selection of house-made soups, and the bakery’s glass displays showcase muffins, cannolis, and bagels affectionately modeled after Italian moped wheels. Cups of Seattle's Best Coffee, bottles of domestic and imported beers, and glasses of white and red wines rest on wooden tabletops, and waiters reenact the burning of Rome by pausing to play the fiddle beside a roaring fireplace.
The oven at Alphonso's the Original ejects pies of freshly kneaded dough slathered in scratch-made sauce and gooey Wisconsin cheese. Owners Tim and Corey inherited their century-old recipe as well as a treasure map to a chest of golden pepperoni passed down from the restaurant's namesake, Alphonso. Pies bear loads of juicy Chicago sausages alongside a medley of veggies, sandwiches hug hand-pressed italian sausage, and salads shimmy under a hail of homemade croutons.
A colonial-style brick mansion with two stories of picturesque wraparound porches and balconies greets visitors as they approach Tony & Mia's. Once inside, they’re met by the smell of pizzas, pastas, risottos, and steaks along with the approachable familiarity of homestyle Italian meals. Framed prints of famous Renaissance paintings fill the walls. And the warm glow of antique chandeliers evokes memories of sharing a Thanksgiving meal at the grandparents' farmhouse, or perhaps of stealing the neighbor's chandelier.
Head Chef Camille DiNicola wills into existence stone-baked, mozzarella-topped pizzas, slow-braised beef ravioli, and marinated Cornish hens. Her husband⎯manager Randy Piering⎯ensures the comfort and satisfaction of each guest. Diners relax with glasses of fine Italian wine and small plates as they listen to professional crooners sing Sinatra standards, or gather on the lawn to watch the expert spheroid-flinging of the neighborhood bocce league.
Pizza purveyors will devour Edwardo's all-natural pies, made with 100% pure aged cheese, crisp crust, and a sweet n' secret tomato sauce. Those perusing the menu will swiftly find Edwardo's signature stuffed cheese and spinach pizza, a two-inch-tall tasty treat packed with enough hand-selected spinach to finally let Popeye defeat Emperor Palpatine ($17.25 for 9"). Edwardo's thin-crust pizzas are just as delectable, with the Hawaiian Luau pie hosting generous chunks of pineapple, savory Canadian bacon, monterey jack cheese, and sweet n' sour sauce ($12.25 for 10"). Gobble up the Chicken Pesto Passion calzone, brimming with tender grilled meat, mozzarella cheese, and homemade pesto ($7.29), or pick up two chunky meatballs, smothered in marinara sauce and roasted red peppers ($4.79), for a kicking kickoff or a supportive side dish to your meal.